Thompsons original research argues that there is an

This preview shows page 37 - 39 out of 58 pages.

Native American, and working-class White women. Thompson's original research argues that there is an under-examined link between eating problems and systemic oppressions, including racism, classism/poverty, homophobia, and sexual trauma. In Killing Us Softly, recall how Kilbourne states that a major reason women diet and exercise extensively is due to a "culture of thinness," in which a woman's beauty is predicated on her ability to be and stay thin. While Thompson cites the culture of thinness as one factor, she makes clear that gender and sexism are not the only key variables to explain eating problems among women of color and White working-class women.Importantly, Thompson offers the idea of "'body consciousness'…the ability to reside comfortably in one's body, to see oneself as embodied, and to consider one's body as connected to oneself." Women's perception of their bodies is directly tied to their material conditions, such as their financial resources and their access or lack of access to social and political power. Thompson also shows how eating problems are not only rooted in individual psycho-pathology but can be attributed to a number of social, economic, and cultural realities including in the dominant beauty images of white, upper,and middle class women's stereotyped femininity, which we learned earlier in this module are tied directly to the 19th century ideology of the cult of domesticity. Such dominant and inaccurate constructions of beauty and femininity have led to the exclusion of White working class and women of color from the realms of beauty in the present. For research results on eating disorders in minority populations, visit National
Eating Disorders' website page "Identity and Eating Disorders" Explore these two websites for additional detailed accounts of how eating disorders affect women of color.Tough Guys or Tough Guise?Tough Guys or Tough Guise?As we study our gender system, it's crucial to explore its effects on men and masculinity. Critical masculinity studies scholar, Michael S. Kimmel, explains that "[m]asculinity first begins by distancing oneself from the mother, the 'anti-masculine,' and the passive traits she embodies…[t]he young man must then suppress those passive traits his mother managed to teach him, turning manhood into 'not being like women.'" He names this process "the flight from the feminine." In her Ted Talk, Eve Ensler also emphasized that all people — women and men — are taught to suppress "the girl cell" and what is taught to boys and men in particular are values congruent with violence. Another scholar, Jackson Katz, discusses how sexism and hyper-masculinity are perpetuated through distorted media portrayals and the overall glorification of an inherently imagined violent masculinity. Collectively, these public intellectuals meditate on how masculinity is given more value in our society but at the expense of an inferior gender identity that is reserved for women, girls, or homosexual men, who are not thought to be "real" men either.

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture